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Four women will receive “Women of Achievement” awards from the Kalamazoo YWCA next month. The winners announced Thursday include Margaret Merrion,  the dean of Western Michigan University’s College of Fine Arts. The others are Jeanne Baraka-Love, the director of Ujima Enterprises which works with African-American youth in Kalamazoo; Willie Mae Pierson, the first black female real estate agent in Kalamazoo; and veterinarian Heidi Stucki.

The awards will be presented on May 21st. That day, Ronda Stryker will receive the Kalamazoo YWCA’s “Lifetime Woman of Achievement” award.

Kalamazoo YWCA

Ronda Stryker is the latest winner of the "Lifetime Woman of Achievement Award" by the the Kalamazoo YWCA. She'll receive the award at the Y's annual celebration on May 21st at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo.

The YWCA says the award is given each year "to a woman in the community who has demonstrated a lifetime of outstanding contributions to the well-being of the community, state, or nation, and has record of accomplishment, leadership, and positive role modeling as a volunteer or in their career".

Battle Creek City Hall - file photo

Battle Creek is the first city in the nation chosen to be a “Beacon Community”. More than a hundred area leaders began meeting Tuesday, March 5th, to learn about the three-year project organizers hope will help deal with community problems. 


The head of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Kalamazoo is stepping down after less than a year on the job. MLive Kalamazoo reports the Deb Buchholtz announced her resignation today, March 22nd. The former chairwoman of the Kalamazoo County Commission joined Big Brothers Big Sisters last July. Bucholtz says she wants to pursue new opportunities that are “closer to my small-business roots”.